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Why Easter? Why Not Passover? by Sondra Giehl

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Handmade shmura matzo used at the Passover Sed...
I am like anyone else I liked Easter as a kid I remember going to my grandmas house to celebrate the holiday. I remember being all smiles in the family photo sitting on the couch in between my brother, sister, and cousin in our Easter outfits and baskets. My cousins and myself would enjoy collecting decorated and colored hard-boiled eggs. It was topped off with candy, a sermon, a big meal normally with a big ham, potato salad, and the brown and serve dinner rolls.

As I grew up it became less about the new Easter outfit and more about Resurrection Sunday. The pastor would have us celebrate Jesus being raised from the dead on the third day. This is a noble attempt from the church to redeem the Easter holiday by taking the attention off of the bunny and eggs.  Now that I have grown up I don’t see how the bunny and eggs go with Jesus death or resurrection but I can see the appeal especially if you have children it gives you and them something to look forward to.

Becoming a believer in the Hebraic roots of Christianity I have come to understand, enjoy, and observe (to the best of my abilities) the feasts laid out in the Word of God (Leviticus 23). Knowing that I can find the exact scripture that says “do this in remembrance of me” makes me at peace with my celebrations of the holidays. As Christians we try to pride ourselves in being different. We say we are a peculiar people however we seem to follow crowds that put vague and false practices in our religious holidays. 

Now I understand that it may be hard to become a follower of the Jewish Jesus (Yeshua) when we as Christians don’t identify with the Jewish people. On top of that the Jewish people don’t even recognize our or other religions. Some of the Jewish people even hate us for the myriads of things that have been done to them in the name of Christendom. So then, how do I go about celebrating a Holy day the way Jesus, his Jewish lineage and followers did when I don’t even understand the culture. I believe that its not about becoming Jewish it is about following Jesus and doing things they way He did and told us to.

I won’t lie, this following Yeshua thing isn’t easy however there is grace, resources and a growing number of Christians who are trying to do things as mandated in His Word. This bring me back to the question I am asking “Why not observe Passover?” Passover was celebrated in the old testament by the killing of the lamb, applying it blood to the doorpost and since they were in a hurry, eating bread without yeast (they didn’t have time to let it rise).

In the New Testament it was celebrated with Jesus and the twelve disciples drinking the wine and eating the unleavened (without any rising element) bread or Matzoh as part of their Passover celebration. The yeast or chametz symbolizes sin in our lives. So during Passover yep there are no brown and serve rolls to be seen only flat cracker-like bread, (1 Cor. 5:7-8, Exodus 12:15, Duet. 16:3).

We keep the tradition of Passover by getting the chametz or leavened bread out of our homes, cars, and office spaces. Inwardly we reflect on any sin in our lives and repent, change and get it out of our hearts. We clean up our lives for a week because we want to be passed over and avoid death, danger, harm, sickness, financial trouble, etcetera. Now Passover, its preparations and traditions are not good luck charms however the word does say if you obey my commands it will go well with us.

We know that as Christians that Yeshua died for our sins and that a week of getting clean may not be what He had in mind when he died upon the tree of life or cross. Now you may say well I can just do all of this in my heart and I don’t have to do any of this, “God knows my heart.” Well yes you can however when doing the feast there is deeper meaning to what happened in the days of Jesus, your understanding is opened up and you feel fuller spiritually. To me its like forgiving someone in your heart. You may feel a little difference but when you go to them to ask for forgiveness and work things out then a weight and burden is lifted. Then you feel a deeper freedom when you are with or around this person than previously when you just forgave in your heart.

This eight day festival of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is about remembering the deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egypt and the death of Yeshua on the stake to save us from death’s sting. In essence we are to get the sin out of our hearts in daily life as well as for a week in honor of Gods word and to do this often in remembrance of Him. It is a celebration of Yeshua and his deliverance of His ancestors from Egypt.

If you wonder what can my kids do in this holiday they certainly don’t want to clean. There are fun reenactments of the Exodus story such as the ten plague bags where the kids have a bag or ten bags filled with items that represent the plagues. And the Passover meal itself includes a fun search for the Afikomen that the kids can get involved in. In this tradition a piece of broken matzoh is hid in a napkin and the kids search for it. Once they find it, then it is redeemed for a monetary gift. This sounds a lot like the Jesus broken, hidden in the tomb and redeeming us for a huge insurmountable price.

There are many rich elements in the Passover that point toward redemption of the Hebrew people and Christians as well as they point to Jesus and his work on the cross.  We may not always relate or identify with the biblical traditions or the Jewish people.  We sure should try and live as Yeshua did and that means following him to the fullest even if when we don’t understand it, if it’s a command then let’s not hesitate lets get to it with joy and gladness that we are being obedient to our Master.

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